Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 30th Jan 2013 00:38 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems Marco Arment: "Everyone should play by the same rules. A proposal: storage capacities referenced or implied in the names or advertisements for personal computers, tablets, and smartphones should not exceed the amount of space available for end-user installation of third-party applications and data, after enough software has been installed to enable all commonly advertised functionality. With today's OSes, iPads could advertise capacities no larger than 12, 28, 60, and 124 GB and the Surface Pros could be named 23 and 83 GB." Wholly agreed. When I buy a box of 100 staples, I expect it to contain ~100 staples - not 50 because the other 50 are holding the box together.
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The problem is that the number of people who do not comply with the standard is larger than the people who do.

Yes, these uneducated people still need to be educated. Sadly, some of them are teachers - I've even seen university professors use "Gb" when they meant "GiB".

There is almost no situation where knowing the number of bytes in a MB/GB is required in order to successfully use a computer.

Let's try this. If you've got a 2 MB disk and you're downloading data at a rate of 8 KB per second; how long until you run out of space to store received data?

Possible answers include:
a) 2*1024*1024/(8*1024) = 256 seconds
b) 2*1000*1024/(8*1024) = 250 seconds
c) 2*1000*1000/(8*1024) = 244.14 seconds
d) 2*1024*1024/(8*1000) = 262.144 seconds
e) 2*1000*1024/(8*1000) = 256 seconds
f) 2*1000*1000/(8*1000) = 250 seconds

Note: Networking hardware typically uses "K = 1000" and hard drive manufacturers have a nasty habit of using "M = 1000*1024", so (e) is potentially the most likely answer, unless the disk is SSD or USB flash where (a) might be more likely, or the prefixes comply with international standards and (f) is the only right answer.

Standards bodies, I think, overstepped their bounds. While they are responsible for setting standards, they should have sought the opinion of the major stakeholders before making the change they did. And if it transpired they could not at least get a majority YES vote, then it should not have happened.

No. The use of "K = 1024" was always wrong and never complied with any standard (despite common usage). The common usage of "wrong" is likely to have been caused by laziness/convenience (e.g. it's easier to say "1 KB of RAM" and be wrong, and harder to say "1.024 KB of RAM" and be right).

The only thing the standards bodies did was create a more convenient alternative that is right (e.g. it's easy to "1 KiB of RAM" and be right and harder to say "1.024 KB of RAM" and be right).

But yes, some people aren't educated and prefer to remain wrong.

- Brendan

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